Check, Check, and then Check Again…

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Worcestershire

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce: US Version (left) vs Canadian Version (right)

The web is a wonderful resource that provides nearly-worldwide access to information. I love it! However, sometimes the information that is relevant in one place is not true in another, and it is a good idea to remember to check where information is coming from. Here’s an example.

Lea & Perrins’ website specifically states that their Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free (http://www.leaperrins.com/lea-perrins-faq.aspx). In fact, they repeat themselves – a technical error, I think, therefore amusing, but it makes it feel like they are trying to drive the point home.

The trouble is, that’s true in the US, but not true in Canada. The Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce that is sold in Canada is not the same recipe as the one in the US.

The Canadian version of L&P’s sauce lists “Malt Vinegar (from barley)” as their number one ingredient. Barley is not considered a “safe” food for people who are on a gluten-free diet (e.g. http://www.csaceliacs.org/gluten_grains.php#B).

I use L&P’s Worcestershire sauce because, even though I’m allergic to wheat protein, I’m not on a gluten-free diet; however, it is a problem for others. I’m really grateful to one reader who contacted me to point out that, while L&P’s sauce is wheat-free, it is not gluten-free, and I realized I should make a comment about that in my Mac & “Cheese” recipe. (Thankfully, I hadn’t stated it was a “gluten-free” recipe, just “wheat-free,” but still… I’ve now updated it to make this distinction clear.)

For Americans travelling to Canada, this is important information. If you are on a gluten-free diet, our Worcestershire sauce is NOT safe for you. Not realizing this could ruin your trip.

On the other hand, for Canadian folks who would like to use Worcestershire sauce but can’t because you are on a gluten-free diet, the US version of this handy, yummy sauce might be OK for you! Nice to know the next time you pop south of the border for a little shopping… I can’t speak to other factors, such as whether or not it is corn-free, but I will check the next time I’m State-side, or if you know already please add a comment or drop me a line! (Anyone able to comment on Australian or UK versions for us?)

The moral of the story is: Check everything. And check again. Even my recipes and shopping suggestions. Check it all. Always.

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(HINT: Having troubles knowing how to pronounce “Worcestershire?” My dad, Bill Beirne (pictured here, fourth row, fifth from the left, two over from the chef with his hat tipped to the left), was from Stoke-on-Trent, in England. He had an accent so thick my friends needed me to translate for him! So, I asked him how to say that “crazy name.” Piece of cake! “WHIRR-stir-shure,” with the “s” being not much more than a tiny “ss,” no “z”-ness to it at all, and each syllable quite clipped, short.) 🙂

2 Responses to "Check, Check, and then Check Again…"
  1. Jo Marsh says:

    Thanks for this post, I found the Lea & Perrins site through Google & accidentally used the UK Worcestershire sauce in a cottage pie before checking the back. I think the UK version is the same as that in Canada and is not gluten-free 🙁 I almost contacted Lea & Perrins to complain until I realised I had looked on the US site!!
    P.S. I live in Gloucestershire – fancy pronouncing that?

    • Erin Anne Beirne says:

      Oh dear, Jo… That’s a shame. 🙁

      Yes, I understand the Canadian version is the same as the UK version, but always best to check, even a familiar item.

      And I think Gloucestershire is pronounced “GLAW-stir-sure” with only a very gentle touch on the r in the stir part… Am I close? 🙂

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